Author - Jerry Paxton

Duke Nukem Teaser Released!

3dRealms has released the teaser for it’s long (ten years) in development ‘Duke Nukem Forever’ this afternoon.

For those that dont know:

Duke Nukem Forever was officially announced on April 28, 1997 along with the purchase of a license to use the Quake II engin and the intention of releasing the game no later than mid-1998. The game engine is important as it provides the underlying technologies and simplifies development.

Original prototype work on the game had begun as early as January. In August and September, the first screenshots of Forever were released in PC Gamer. In its November issue, Scott Miller restated that the intended release date was 1998. However, 3D Realms did not get the Quake II engine code until November 1997, and the earlier screenshots were simply mock-ups with the Quake engine that the team had made in their spare time. 3D Realms unveiled the first video footage of Forever using the Quake II engine at the 1998 E3 conference.

The teaser can be found at the following links:

ShackNews

*Or you could stream it here:
https://gamingshogun.com/Default.aspx?a=593

MORE LINKS SOON!

Reaction to Next-Gen Top 30 Games of 2007

Next-Gen has posted their list of the top 30 games of 2007. Their take on the top games list is MUCH more realistic than TIME‘s was. In fact, aside from their top five of the list, it is pretty darn good.

I commend Next-Gen for their top 30 list and think it shows their true
‘gamer’ status as opposed to people who just pull the top sellers off
of the Gamestop website and put them in their articles.

The top five from Next-Gen:

  • Super Mario Galaxy
  • Rock Band
  • BioShock
  • The Orange Box
  • Halo 3

Personally, I like this list quite a bit. Super Mario Galaxy is a great game, although I would have given the #1 spot to BioShock. While fun gameplay, I dont think there has been any game to be as engaging as BioShock this year. Apparently we are big BioShock shills at this site as the GamingShogun thought the same thing in the previously linked article. The Shogun also mentioned that the Orange Box was not a good selection and I have to agree. It is a compendium of games, not just one. In it’s place I would have placed Portal, which was just incredible.

Crysis Review

Crysis is the successor to Far Cry, the award-winning first-person shooter from Crytek.You are ‘Nomad’, part of a US Special Forces team equipped with some very high-tech and classified gear. Your mission is to insert into a North Korean-controlled island and rescue some hostages. The reason why North Korea has suddenly annexed this small plot of land? Unknown. For now….

Graphics: Using the latest DirectX 10 enhancements, this game looks incredible and, like Far Cry before it, sets a new benchmark in computer game graphics. Unfortunately, you need a mighty powerful rig to take advantage of the effects.

Our Test Rig:

  • AMD 6000+ AM2 Dual Core CPU
  • 4Gb of DDR2 RAM
  • BFG 8800 GTX OC Video Card
  • Sound Blaster X-Fi Gamer
  • Windows Vista 32-bit

We were able to run the game very well on our set-up. The graphics looked amazing and none of the effects were lost. The depth-of-field looks very convincing as does the physics modelling.

Sound: The sound design in Crysis is no slouch either. Ambient noises really make you feel as if you are alone on the small island, of course, until all hell breaks loose. Sound effects are excellent as well, with subtle touches like ‘freezing’ sounds, invidual shells dropping, and even the rattling around of fallen paper cups to immerse you in the virtual world.

Music: Music in Crysis is good, although it is outshown by the sound design and graphics. The tones range from eerie to adrenaline fueled marches.

Gameplay: Your super nano suits have four different modes in which to utilize. The first increases your armor – this is the mode that we used most often. The next mode increases your speed. The next mode cloaks your body (ala Predator) for as long as your suit’s energy holds out. Finally, the third increases your strength and man does it increase it. Under normal circumstances when you grab an enemy by the throat and throw him, he will lay there a minute, then get back up. When strength is engaged, he flies much farther and doesn’t get back up. In addition, some obstacles can be broken by punching them, only in strength-mode.

These modes give Crysis it’s replayability. Choosing to go guns-blazing into a village or to go in stealth-mode is up to you. In fact, you have certain mission objectives but it is pretty much up to you how you get to your objective and accomplish them.

Unfortunately, there are still a ton of bugs in the game that can affect performance even more so than the high system requirements. We saw a couple ‘CTDs’, an issue with the game not wanting to start in full-screen mode, what seemed to be a memory leak after about forty minutes of play, and even a strange sound issue with this incesant clicking noise. At this time, patch #1 is currently being readied for release. Hopefully, this will fix some of these issues as it is always a shame for bugs to bring down opinion of an otherwise excellent game.

Conclusion: Crytek has done it again, bringing an excellent cinematic gaming experience to the masses with Crysis. If you can hold fast for the upcoming patches, you will be treated to an excellent game.

SanDisk Cruzer Contour – Review

From the get go, I need to tell you that the Cruzer Contour is a God-send to chronic fidgeters like myself.  I’ve had the Cruzer Contour for about a week now, and cannot tell you how often I’ve found myself sitting at my desk with my mouse in one hand and the Cruzer Contour in the other, just flipping it open and closed.  Open and closed.  Open and closed.  I’ve walked up to more people than I can count saying ‘That’s not a USB drive… (flip-flip) THIS is a USB drive!’  

As far as technical specs go, the Cruzer Contour boasts 18mb/s write speeds, and read speeds of up to 25mb/s.  In testing, however, the Cruzer Contour performed better than advertised.  Using the freeware version of HD-TAC, I was able to achieve 26.3mb/s read speeds (See graph below), which is significantly faster than the handful of other USB drives I tested, including my fairly new Cruzer Mini (which only read at 18mb/s).  

The Cruzer Contour comes preloaded with SanDisk’s U3 technology allowing you to run portable applications directly from the drive.  In essence, U3 allows the user to plug his flash drive into any computer and operate it as his/her own personal computer.  Additionally, the Cruzer Contour provides password protection through U3 which is backed by AES hardware encryption, much stronger than the typical software encryption found on other USB drives.  

Conclusion: This is a well functioning, high-speed device.  Though the Cruzer Contour is significantly heavier than SanDisk’s previous Cruzer incarnations, the weight comes mostly from the drive’s stainless steel shell.  My only complaint about the Cruzer Contour is that the grip ridges (see pictures below) are on the side of the drive where the USB port is.  For whatever reason, when attempting to manipulate the opening and closing mechanism by gripping the ridges, the process was often strained and difficult.  I found the mechanism operated much easier and smoother by gripping it on the bottom instead.  Additionally, when connecting the Cruzer Contour into a particularly tight USB port, the mechanism clicked in and attempted to close the drive.  It’s quite frustrating trying to plug a drive in when the port keeps receding into itself.  Other than that though, a fantastic, sleek, and stylish piece of personal tech!

GameSpot Codename Panzers: Cold War Preview

GameSpot has posted a preview of Stormregion’s upcomming Codename Panzers: Cold War RTS. The game is set to hit retail shelves the first quarter of 2008 and features what looks to be great AI, graphics, and environment.

From the article:

We watched a tech demo of the new Gepard 3 graphics engine that Stormregion developed especially for Panzers: Cold War, and it looked like it was developing nicely. Just about everything in the game is useable or destroyable–buildings crumble realistically under fire, steel bends, and rather than relying upon animation for structures, the physics engine treats pieces of buildings as physical objects interacting with each other as they fall. During our first mission, we watched a tank volley sheer the front off a garrisoned building as convincing rag-doll-animated troops fell screaming out of shattered windows; cool confirmation that the engine doesn’t just make things look pretty, but really affects game play. Your troops intelligently use physics-based cover while passive engine effects, such as nighttime or rain, will affect their sight range and speed.

Poorman’s GPS Tracker Inexpensive, Yet Fun!

Gizmodo is reporting on a new GPS tracker from S5 Wireless that will cost a scant $7 dollars and last up to 4 years! The device will be disposable and allow jealous boyfriends, leery parents, and amature spies to all put their concerns to rest. There is a monthly service charge of $1 dollar for using the device.

Razer Boomslang Collector’s Edition 2007 Review

Long ago, circa 1998, a lone warrior came out of the ball-driven dark ages and gave us a weapon with which to slay our enemies. This weapon was the Boomslang 1000 gaming mouse. It’s form factor was totally unique as was it’s performance. This form factor and performance persisted in it’s descendants the Boomslang 2000, 2100, and 2500. Then, just as soon as it arrived it had left us for more contoured, optically-controlled input devices. While the technology is far beyond the performance of it’s ball-driven ancestors, there has always been this void in the gaming world…Now again, when it is needed, the warrior has stepped from the shadows and presented us with a new weapon: The Boomslang CE 2007.

Packaging: The Boomslang CE 07 is packaged in a very classy black cardboard box with a large metal clasp that keeps it closed. As if that weren’t enough, upon opening this box and taking note of the certificate of authenticity with unit # (ours is 389 of 10,000), you see a familiar cylinder beneath. There was a time, my young gamers, that real mice came encased in metal cylinders, oh yes – and so it is here. This time, however, instead of the shiny tin of the original Boomslang, this case is a matte black metal with the Razer logo embossed on the top of it. Within we found the mouse and software, begging us to use them.

Design: Razer has brought the Boomslang design back in spades by adding a titanium-finish top to the mouse as well as ‘Phantom Green’ lighting effects. The scroll wheel is also slightly altered and now sports an arch-top design. For the uninitiated, the ‘Razer’ got it’s name from the shape of the original Boomslang, which resembled…an electric razer, go figure. It is strange after using so many newer, contoured mice to come back to the Boomslang. It’s familiar shape welcomes you back like a comfy old coat, that is, if your comfy coat sported ‘Phantom Green’ lighting – now that would be a cool coat!

Installation & Software: Installing the Razer software was a breeze and did not take very long whatsoever. The control panel is of a spartan nature, but does the job.

Performance: Razer packed this new Boomslang with a 3G Infrared sensor, previously found in the Death Adder. With a 1000Hz polling rate and 1800dpi sensitivity, the mouse is built for fraggin’, like we like. The mouse also has 32Kb of ‘Razer-Synapse’ memory for storing profiles. I tested this mouse for multiple rounds of gaming in BioShock and Crysis. The Boomslang CE 07 performs incredibly, providing the ultra-sensitive, yet very controlled power you would expect. Oddly enough, my brain and hand don’t expect it to glide so easily, as I am used to it rolling on a ball sensor. In desktop apps, the other arena I like to test mice in, I used Photoshop and MS Word. Unlike many gaming mice that have trouble transitioning to desktop usage, the Boomslang CE 07 has no trouble in this department and I never had to decrease the sensitivity once.

Conclusion: It is rare when a company can take something from the past and modernize it, simultaneously improving it while not taking away from the things that made it great. Razer has done just that with the Boomslang Collector’s Edition 2007. It is with a happy heart I bestow it the highest rating I can. Welcome back, old friend, you look great…

Get one of these as soon as you can before they sell out for good!

New Command & Conquer FPS Announced

ShackNews is reporting that the January issue of Game Informer will announce the next C&C game from EA. It seems as though they are going to try a FPS again (their first entry into this was the abysmal C&C: Renegade).

Info from article:

  • Will ship on PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360
  • Set 11 years after the third Tiberium war
  • Squad-based action
  • Squads are called R.A.I.D. (Rapid Assault and Intercept Deployment)
  • Known squad types are infantry, missile infantry, Titan and Orca
  • Missions are around the ‘Mediterranean Red Zone’
  • Special powers such as ‘Orbital Slug’ are available

Gameplay from C&C Renegade: